Merton Council launches major enforcement offensive

Merton Council will be kicking off its new anti-litter offensive this week.

Every week from the 28 January, Merton’s community engagement officers will be out in the borough’s town centres giving away free bottles of water, fruit and cigarette stub pouches to passers-by. Each item will be labelled as potential litter to educate the public that even an apple core, which many people do not think of as litter, should not be dropped on the street, but instead responsibly disposed of in a bin or taken home.

Throughout the year, each road show taking place in the town centre will be followed a week later by a team of enforcement and police officers who will be on the lookout for people committing litter offences. Home Office guidance highlights how design and improving the aesthetics of an area play an important role in reducing anti-social behaviour, crime and the fear of crime. This initiative is part of Merton Council’s continuing work to keep the borough’s streets clean for the benefit of all its residents.

The campaign to keep Merton’s streets clean kicks off in Wimbledon on Thursday 28 January between 8am and 10am, at the Piazza on the Broadway.

Merton Council cabinet member for environment and leisure services Councillor David Simpson said: ‘The aim of this programme is to first educate people about what constitutes litter and to highlight the potential £75 penalty anyone caught dropping litter would have to pay. We will then be following up the education with enforcement action, and that’s when people who insist on dropping litter will have to face the consequences. Anyone receiving a fixed penalty notice and failing to pay it will be prosecuted. We won’t tolerate litter offences in Merton and work hard to keep our streets clean. This type of direct action is what a vast majority of people would want and expect us to do.

‘However, we all have to take responsibility for the cleanliness of our streets. We shouldn’t just assume that it’s someone else’s problem and someone else will clear it up. Every year, the council spends over £3.7 million keeping our streets clean – money we would rather spend more constructively on recycling and environmental initiatives. Our clear message is therefore, bin it, don’t sling it.’